Carolina Panthers preseason position battles heating up
The shift from Rivera’s traditional 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 has spotlighted the defensive front. Where prototypical defensive tackles were once a necessity, having one to play the nose position with other guys who can play as defensive ends, in addition to the help of outside linebackers is becoming the new norm.
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Through two games, the Panthers have featured a lot of the new style of defense with some success. Creating additional pass rushing lanes with the versatility of a 3-4, coupled with multiple offseason additions has potentially taken a few other roster spots away.
Last year Carolina opened the season with 10 defensive linemen and seven linebackers. Considering only one or two of those linebackers would be considered outside players, it leaves potentially 12 guys to fill the new defensive front alignment.
For this to happen, there could be some surprises when the final roster is announced to start the season. Former first-round pick Vernon Butler, Efe Obada, rookie Christian Miller and Bryan Cox Jr., who recently had some legal trouble, could all be battling for the final few positions.
Each of these races figures to be extremely tight right up until the deadline as the regular season approaches.